Despite any attention-grabbing headlines or social media posts you may have seen, the current economic story for the U.S. is "nuanced," says Plastics News Economics Editor Bill Wood.
In his Numbers That Matter column for November, he forecast that the plastics industry in North America should see 0 percent GDP growth in 2023.
"That's right, the total amount of economic activity for all of next year, after adjusting for inflation, will be the same as the total for this year," he wrote.
This week also brought more news that may seem like there's light at the end of an inflation tunnel, with the rate of inflation easing in the past month. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve boosted key interest rates by half of a percentage point — marking a continued effort to increase the cost of borrowing, but at a lower level than other changes this year.
Bill notes, though, that all the intervention hasn't done anything to address core macroeconomic issues. There are still more job openings than there are people to fill them. The supply chain is more stable but still at risk for disruption. Energy prices are relatively stable in the U.S., but there's a lack of long-term investment in efforts to address environmental issues.
So while numbers may look better for the current holiday shopping season than they did a few months ago, big issues remain.
"Long term we understand there's an issue and a problem, but we don't do enough," he said.